I am getting re-married – will my children still inherit?

15 Sep 2017


Many people don’t know that when you get re-married your existing will becomes null and void, so you will need to make a new one if you wish to ensure your loved ones are provided for if you die. (NB this is the case in England and Wales and Northern Ireland; it’s different in Scotland)


If you don’t have a will, your estate will be distributed under the rules of intestacy, which direct that your spouse will automatically inherit the first £250,000 of your estate and all of your personal possessions. There are more complicated rules if your estate is valued over £250,000, depending on which of your relatives are still alive.


This may mean your children will not inherit as much as you would like them to, so it is essential to arrange a new will as soon as practicable after you have re-married. You can, in fact, make a will in anticipation of getting married, in which case your solicitor will incorporate a clause stating that the will should be read as though you are already married. However, you may find it simpler to make your new will as soon as possible after you are married.


Providing for your family

If you have children from your first marriage, then you will probably want to make sure that your children and your new spouse and perhaps any step children are provided for in the event of your death. You may wish to consider setting up a trust in your will that will allow your second spouse to benefit from your assets during his or her lifetime with the certainty that your children will receive the assets later on.


Having experienced the breakdown of your first marriage, you may wish to put some plans in place in case this second marriage doesn’t last. A prenuptial agreement would enable you to protect some assets for your children if your marriage breaks down.


Home ownership

If you own your matrimonial home as joint tenants it may be more appropriate to change the ownership to tenants-in-common so that you have greater control over who should inherit your share of the property if you die. With a tenants-in-common ownership your share passes into trust on your death rather than automatically passing to your second spouse.


If you do this you should draw up a Declaration of Trust that sets out each co-owner’s stake in the property so that your children will inherit the right amount. You can also stipulate whether the surviving partner would have the right to continue to live in the property until they pass away or wish to sell. Without this in place, your partner may be forced to sell the property in order to give your children their inheritance.


NB: Home ownership options are similar but with slight variations in terminology and process across the UK.


Proper planning

Planning for all eventualities can be complex, so it is important to speak to a solicitor to make sure you have covered all bases. With proper planning you can ensure that your second spouse and your children are both protected and maintain control over how your assets are distributed on your death.



This article is republished with STEP’s permission from www.advisingfamilies.org/. The original article can be found here.


If you would like to discuss your current will, or to make a new one, please contact Michael Derrick or one of our Private Client team using the details below.



Further reading

The meaning of vacant possession – useful guidance from the Court of Appeal

Blog, Legal Updates
Cheraine Williams considers the facts of a recent case but urges tenants not to rely solely on the outcome
Read more Read

Employer's question: the right to appeal a redundancy dismissal

It is common practice to offer the right to appeal against a redundancy dismissal. If you are considering not doing so, tread carefully.
Read more Read

Can I disinherit my children?

"American Pie" hit maker, Don McLean, is said to have disinherited his daughter after her claims of emotional abuse. Is it really that easy?
Read more Read

DMH Stallard Corporate team wins major industry award

Blog, News & PR
Private Equity / Venture Capital Deal of the Year 2021 awarded to deal led by Abigail Owen
Read more Read
  • Brighton Office

    1 Jubilee Street


    East Sussex

    BN1 1GE

  • Gatwick Office

    Griffin House

    135 High Street


    West Sussex

    RH10 1DQ

  • Guildford Office

    Wonersh House

    The Guildway

    Old Portsmouth Road



    GU3 1LR

  • Horsham Office

    Ridgeland House

    15 Carfax


    West Sussex

    RH12 1DY

  • London Office

    6 New Street Square

    New Fetter Lane


    EC4A 3BF

  • Get in touch